Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Quick TV Review: Jessica Jones

I like it. I don't know that I like it quite as much as I liked Daredevil, but it's definitely better than pretty much anything else that's on TV.  The Flash is maybe in the same general zip code in terms of overall storytelling, but though they're both comic book properties, they are otherwise so dissimilar as to dissuade anything other than the most cursory comparison.

That's not a bad thing, by the way. It simply shows the depth of the source medium.

Jessica's story is more intuitive and emotional than was Daredevil's. It's more of a thinker's piece. The conundrums are all psychological, and the players win or lose based almost solely on their smarts rather than on the strength of their superpowers or even the depths of their martial training. Hell, even grit takes a backseat the brains when the Purple Man gets involved. That's abnormal in the extreme for Western storytelling, but I like it.

My one critique is this: there are definitely fight scenes and other action sequences in Jessica Jonss, and not all of these are of uniformly excellent quality. Daredevil has a couple of spots, especially in the early going, that are just out-and-out breathtaking. We still have one episode to go before we finish Jessica Jones, but so far only Episode Ten has hit the same quality in terms of total action, and I think that's because the scene in question takes place in Jessica's office, and it's really close quarters. That one sequence plays like a truly excellent no-holds-barred WWE Cage Match.  The rest of the straight-up action is distinctly less terrifying, however.  Even the penultimate fight scene in Episode Twelve kind of let me down a little.  They'd been building it up for twelve episodes, but then it wasn't nearly the most brutal fight we'd seen in the series.  That missed the mark for me.

There are still a few mysteries. That's fine.  For one,  I think that Trish is as interesting a character as is Jessica herself, which is perhaps not surprising given that she is one of the oldest characters in the Marvel Universe, and that she's played by an actress with at least as many screen credits as the series' lead. As I said before, I'm expecting Patsy Walker to be the de facto lead in The Defenders.

That's all I've got. Anybody got anything?


  1. My sentiments fall into similar line. I liked Jessica Jones a lot, but not as much as I liked Daredevil. A lot of that could be the physical confrontations. There seemed to be at least one throw down an episode on Daredevil. Also, I loved that they gave Karen an actual mission. It was a great B or C storyline that I'm not sure was as strong in Jessica.

    1. I liked Trish & Simpson a lot, so I don't know that I agree. It might just be a gender thing. Jessica Jones is very much about feeling powerless & terrified, and that doesn't really describe much about how I feel in my life. But I get that there are a lot of women who are very cognizant of sexual power dynamics, who live with the reality of being smaller and less physically strong in a real and continuous way. Jessica is physically strong but still utterly powerless, so the dynamic is clear & deliberate, and this is why I think so many women have responded so well to it.

      I liked he plot line and the dialogue a lot. Really a lot. My criticism is solely in the way some of the action was directed, especially in the last two episodes.

  2. I loved the series. I was a huge fan of Daredevil and the fight scenes, but his physical strength is akin to Batman's - it's a byproduct of will and determination. The fighting is riveting because he gets hurt and can loose but doesn't. With super strength the stakes aren't the same in a fight (unless it's Zod v Supes), the psychological nature of this series is brilliant. Super powers don't solve the problem. Wit and will win the day... and force us to ponder a deeper moral context than simple good v evil. I understand your criticism of the fight scenes, but I'm willing to give them a pass on this storyline. I am very interested to see which direction they take with Luke Cage and Iron Fist in their series'. I am supremely impressed with the product Marvel and Netfix is putting out though!

    1. That's fair.

      The best thing about a lot of these scenes is that Jessica is not invincible, that she gets punched and gets hurt. That's real life. I liked that. I also liked the way they made a point of makeing her stronger than Cage but also more vulnerable. That said, I would personally have tried to play this up a little more in the penultimate episode, but what can you do? It still worked. And I agree that the plotting is terrific.